2018 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Top 25 Free Agents Remaining
The NBA's regular season is often equated to a marathon. This summer's free agency, it seems, will be a one-day sprint followed immediately by a slow crawl.
The first 24 hours featured LeBron James change locales, while Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Paul George all recommitted to their respective clubs. Day two saw the most stunning salary witnessed in years: a one-year, $5.3 million deal for 27-year-old DeMarcus Cousins, who becomes 2018 All-Star No. 5 for the world champion Golden State Warriors.
But the avalanche of activity has slowed considerably since. Thursday's biggest signing featured Nemanja Bjelica joining the Philadelphia 76ers, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. It would seem the dog days of the offseason are either here or quickly approaching.
That said, plenty of useful players remain unsigned. The top 25 remaining are assembled here, and the list will be updated as players continue to reach new agreements.
Note: Most of the text throughout this article is repeated from the previous installments of the free-agent draft board, though new information has been added in some places.
25. Yogi Ferrell (Restricted)
Yogi Ferrell is more interesting than hoop logic says he should be. It's hard to last in the NBA as a 6'0" anything. It's almost unheard of to be a 6'0" combo guard sandwiched between Willie Cauley-Stein and Pascal Siakam in assist percentage (13.5).
And yet, "all signs" indicate the Dallas Mavericks want to keep Ferrell, per Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. He was the only free agent the Mavs didn't renounce when clearing cap space for DeAndre Jordan.
That's because even though he's undersized and an underwhelming passer, he's still found a way to make reliable contributions. He's a steady scorer (10.2 points in 27.8 minutes per game), a potent perimeter shooter (1.6 threes, 37.3 percent) and a relentless defender (1.21 defensive real plus-minus, ninth among point guards, per ESPN.com).
Good things usually happen when Ferrell is in the game, which is often since he appeared in every contest last season. In 2017-18, the Mavs were 8.6 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor (plus-0.4 to minus-8.2).
24. Nick Young
Despite ending with a world title, Nick Young's first—and seemingly only—season with the Golden State Warriors will be filed in the "letdown" drawer.
They added him to address quiet needs for second-team scoring and shooting. By season's end, the Warriors bench still had bottom-third marks in points (tied for 22nd) and three-point percentage (28th).
Come playoff time, Young's shooting grew so anemic (30.2 percent overall, 29.8 percent outside), Golden State often went without him even as its thin wing core endured multiple injury blows.
All of that said, Young probably came closer to meeting expectations than being a colossal bust. His slash line (41.2/37.7/86.2) was almost identical to his career mark (41.8/37.6/83.6). The rest of his numbers don't matter much, since teams trying to sign Swaggy for something other than shooting are doing it wrong.
Young can still stroke. He shot 39.9 percent from distance when he didn't dribble, 39.6 percent on catch-and-shoot triples and 40.2 percent from range when he had at least four feet of space.
If his only job is catching and firing, he remains worth rostering. The Houston Rockets, who embrace the three-ball more than anyone ever has, are unsurprisingly one of several teams with interest in Young, per Rockets Wire's Kelly Iko.
23. Alan Williams
Despite having three seasons under his belt, Alan Williams only has one year to sell potential employers. He only made 15 appearances over the 2015-16 and 2017-18 campaigns combined, spending most of the former in China and much of the latter recovering from a meniscus tear in his right knee.
But clubs needing frontcourt depth and rebounding help will remember all the production he packed into 2016-17. The New York Knicks, for example, have already "inquired about" him, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
More might be calling given how strong Williams was then.
The sample was small (47 outings), but the statistics were astounding—per-36-minute averages of 17.6 points, 14.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.2 assists. He also shot 51.7 percent from the field, posted a top-50 player efficiency rating (19.5) and made the Phoenix Suns 6.2 points better per 100 possessions with him than without.
He's short for a center (6'8") and not particularly explosive, and his scoring range doesn't extend far beyond the basket. But his smarts and motor help maximize his impact, especially on the glass (sixth in rebounding percentage in 2016-17).
22. Devin Harris
As far as free-agent splashes go, don't expect Devin Harris to cause many more waves than a world-class diver. He's 35 years old, last posted an above-average player efficiency rating in 2011-12 and is coming off a campaign in which he averaged 8.4 points and 2.1 assists in 18.9 minutes per night.
But he's steady, and with the way the market has been whittled down already, that's not a claim every unsigned player can make.
He can play either backcourt spot, although his three-point shot isn't quite as pure as clubs would like from an off-ball wing (career 32.7 percent). That said, he's coming off one of his better shooting efforts (34.8 percent outside, third-highest of his career), and his sound decision-making has yielded 2.3 assists for every turnover through 14 NBA seasons.
He works best alongside another ball-handler—he and J.J. Barea had a plus-8.5 net rating together—and isn't the sturdiest defender. Harris has only posted a positive defensive box plus/minus three times and has finished 10 of the last 11 seasons in the red.
For win-now clubs looking for loads of experience and dashes of scoring and distributing, though, he's worthy of a second-team slot.
21. Patrick McCaw (Restricted)
Roller coasters have nothing on Patrick McCaw’s first two seasons in the Association. He was the 38th pick in the 2016 draft, then a playoff rotation piece—and spot starter—for the 2017 champion Golden State Warriors and finally a player who lost regular playing time to injuries, inconsistency, a nasty sophomore slump and Nick Young.
Few free agents in this market carry more question marks, and McCaw’s restricted status only muddles his market even more.
When he wasn’t battling the injury bug in 2017-18, he was fighting an erratic shooting stroke (23.8 percent outside) and struggling to leave a positive imprint of any kind. The Warriors were 11.5 points better per 100 possessions when he didn’t play.
So, why is he on this list? Because he’s 22 years old and still in possession of the attributes that painted him as a draft-night heist just one year ago.
He’s long (6’7” with a 6’10” wingspan) and disruptive defensively on the ball or in passing lanes. He’s also a more crafty creator than he could show with Golden State. During his last season at UNLV, he averaged 17.5 points and 4.6 assists per 40 minutes.
If he proves competent from the perimeter (career 29.6 percent), he could offer a little bit of everything. If not, he’ll still be useful as a multipositional defender and secondary playmaker.
20. Trevor Booker
Before diving into our analysis, we'll let Trevor Booker deliver his own sales pitch.
"I'm a passionate player. I'm a guy that's going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense," Booker said in December, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's Corey Seidman. "I'm pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell."
Booker is the kind of player most clubs could use, but not one they have to keep. That's why he's worn five different jerseys over his first eight NBA seasons, including three in 2017-18 alone.
He earns his paycheck on the glass and the defensive end. He's not a dominant rebounder, but he's active—9.7 boards per 36 minutes for his career. Similarly, he's not a lockdown stopper, but he helps fortify that end. He can guard multiple positions, and this past season, he trimmed 2.5 points off his opponents' field-goal percentage.
Labeling his offensive arsenal as limited might be generous. He only connected on 36.9 percent of his jumpers last season and went 82-of-206 on shots outside of three feet (39.8 percent). But he has perked up his playmaking of late, averaging 2.7 assists per 36 minutes over the last two years.
At least four different teams expressed interest on Booker shortly after the market opened, per HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy.
19. David West
If David West isn't lured away by the siren song of retirement, the 37-year-old could continue authoring the fascinating second chapter of his NBA career.
His All-Star past is a distant memory—selections in 2008 and 2009—and his days as a starter are getting murky after three seasons as a reliable reserve. But he's been a natural since slotting in as a sub, first for the San Antonio Spurs and then the Golden State Warriors.
His genius-level hoops IQ has helped him maximize possessions as both a passing fulcrum and a sturdy support scorer.
The best three shooting seasons of his career have been his last three (55.2 percent overall), and he has masterfully molded his skills to meet nearly any situation. He's averaged at least 8.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes each of the last two seasons. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only other player to do that once in this stretch.
West hasn't avoided the effects of aging altogether. His limited mobility made him almost unplayable in the Western Conference Finals, and he shouldn't be asked for more than 15 minutes a night.
But smarts and skills—West's top two assets—are two of the most effective weapons in the fight against time.
18. Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe can play; there's no question about that.
The question is whether the Moose can play in today's Association since he's neither a shooter, nor a perimeter-switcher, nor a shot-blocker.
His per-minute production has held remarkably steady over the last four seasons. He's averaged between 18.1 and 18.8 points, 10.5 and 12.1 rebounds and 2.4 and 3.9 assists per 36 minutes.
But the league's move to a smaller and faster game has decimated his playing time.
His minutes have fallen each of the last five seasons, to the point he only received 20.4 across three different teams in 2017-18. Come playoff time, the Boston Celtics couldn't even offer that much. He only appeared in 11 of their 19 postseason tilts and logged just 46 minutes after the opening round.
Playoff matchups might always be tricky to navigate in this small-ball world, but Monroe can play a prominent regular-season role as a second team's offensive hub. He blends power and finesse on the low block, manifesting in a 70th percentile finish on post-ups. He's also a skilled passer for his size, with the sixth-most assists among players 6'11" or taller since 2010-11 (1,330).
17. David Nwaba (Restricted)
The eye test treats David Nwaba better than box scores ever will. He's a defensive-minded energizer, and his counting categories reflect that role. Through two NBA seasons, his career averages sit at just 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 22.7 minutes.
But remember, statistics lack nuance. There's no way for them to reflect Nwaba defending multiple positions or plotting his movements to put himself in the right place at the right time more often than not.
There's value in that, even if Nwaba's free-throw percentage (65.3) and low three-point volume (19 makes in 90 games) suggest his offensive arsenal might not grow beyond transition scores, timely cuts and the occasional second-chance bucket.
While Johnson reported Chicago hopes to keep Nwaba, sources told The Athletic's Michael Scotto that negotiations are "at a stalemate" and the Bulls are open to sign-and-trade offers. Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz reports Nwaba "has a barrage of interest around the league."
16. Alex Len
As the 2013 No. 5 overall pick, it's hard to characterize Alex Len's first five NBA seasons as anything other than a disappointment. But that won't matter to big-man bargain-hunters, who could look at the 25-year-old's quietly productive track record and see a worthwhile investment.
He's never averaged even 24 minutes per game in a season, which makes the rest of his counting categories appear underwhelming—7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. Stretch those same numbers out on the per-36-minute scale, though, and they jump to 13.1, 11.8 and 1.9, respectively.
He's also produced a positive defensive box plus-minus each of the last four seasons, and his player efficiency spiked to 19.4 this most recent campaign. While he offers zero offensive spacing—his average shot distance in 2017-18 was only 2.7 feet—he can finish plays on post-ups (59th percentile) and pick-and-rolls (77th percentile), and he's not a liability at the charity stripe (career 70.7 percent).
So far, that hasn't brought his market above faint whispering, which isn't entirely surprising when he had to settle for his qualifying offer last summer. He had been mentioned by The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor as a "realistic target" for the Wizards, but that door may have closed with the additions of Thomas Bryant and Dwight Howard.
15. James Ennis III
James Ennis III has worn four different jerseys over four NBA seasons. Will this be the summer he finally finds a long-term home?
He has an interesting skill set, even if he isn't always as consistent as clubs would like a 28-year-old to be. He has the ideal build and athleticism for a modern wing, plus a serviceable three-ball (career 35.9 percent). That sounds an awful lot like the three-and-D player every club could add.
Ennis' market is unsurprisingly active. The Detroit Pistons have made re-signing him "a priority," per ESPN.com's Ian Begley, who says the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets are among the other teams with interest.
Ennis is far more solid than spectacular, and his salary should reflect that. He shouldn't be counted on for shot creation, but he'll guard multiple positions and add offensive value as both a transition finisher and spot-up shooter.
Provided the Long Beach State product gets plugged into the right role with appropriate expectations placed upon him, he should have a chance to stick with his next employer.
14. Michael Beasley
Michael Beasley gets buckets. Asking him to do anything more requires ignoring the first 10 years of his career.
He's instant offense, a microwave, a spark plug—any of the cliches attached to offensive fireballs. He does nothing else consistently, but the self-proclaimed "walking bucket" doesn't need to, not after topping 20 points per 36 minutes and shooting north of 50 percent each of the last three seasons.
Sources told Marc Berman of the New York Post that at least four clubs could have interest in Beasley, including the NBA champs. The New York Knicks are likely going forward without him after adding scoring forward Mario Hezonja, per Berman.
Point production aside, Beasley struggles to past most numbers tests.
Fewer than 13 percent of his career shots are threes, and he spends more time in the mid-range than at the basket. He's topped two assists per game once. Only six players had a higher isolation frequency (20.8 percent of his possessions) last year, even though he's only a mediocre finisher (66th percentile). New York's defense was 4.2 points better per 100 possessions without him.
But teams that want Beasley probably need buckets, and he can get them in his sleep.
13. Jamal Crawford
A lot of teams could use second-team scoring, which means a lot of teams could use Jamal Crawford. The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported five clubs "are expected to show interest," including the Warriors and 76ers.
Age hasn't changed much for the 38-year-old Crawford, who still dances off the dribble, piles up bench points and keeps converting four-point plays.
He has thrice been named Sixth Man of the Year, and his play hasn't budged far off his award-winning levels. The volume wasn't there last season (second-fewest minutes, third-fewest points of his career), but he still supplied 17.9 points and 4.0 assists per 36 minutes.
He isn't the most efficient scorer (career 41.0 field-goal percentage), and his defense has gone from bad to worst—literally. No one had a worse defensive real plus-minus than his minus-5.37 last year, per ESPN.com.
But clubs with an interest in Crawford already know his strengths and weaknesses. They also know he packs enough of an offensive punch to change the outcomes of games, provided he has a longer leash than the Minnesota Timberwolves offered.
"I think, utilized properly, I can help affect winning," Crawford told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
12. Shabazz Napier
The market for Shabazz Napier has been short on updates, which makes sense since it's unclear exactly what happened last season. Did he engineer a full-fledged breakout, or did he merely follow the longest hot streak of his career with a subzero spell that cost him his rotation spot?
The stat sheet shows obvious progress. He'd never before averaged more points (8.7) or shot a higher percentage from any level (42.0/37.6/84.1). After tallying just 1.2 win shares over his first three NBA seasons, he matched that number on offense alone and topped it on defense (2.0).
But how many breakout performers end their season by being healthy observers for two of their team's final thee contests? Napier was twice passed over during the Portland Trail Blazers' abbreviated playoff run, a defensible decision given his frigid play down the stretch.
After rolling into the All-Star break with eye-opening accuracy rates of 45.1 percent from the field and 40.3 from distance, his shot never returned from the in-season vacation. Over his final 23 outings, he converted only 34.6 percent of his field goals and 32.4 percent of his triples.
Tag that skid to the struggles of his first three seasons, and there are reasons for free-agency shoppers to be skeptical of his hot start. The Blazers opting against extending his qualifying offer was an ominous way for his free agency to start.
11. Dwyane Wade
Free agency presents a fork in the road for Dwyane Wade. One way leads to retirement; the other heads back to the Miami Heat.
Those seem to be the only options for the 36-year-old.
"If I decide to come back and play the game of basketball, I would love for it, obviously, to be in Miami," Wade told Fox Sports Radio, via Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post.
Despite Father Time's advancement, Wade's midseason move back to Miami put him right back in a featured offensive role. From the time of his return to the end of the regular season, Wade paced the Heat in shots per 36 minutes (19.0) and usage percentage (29.6).
Come playoff time, he attempted the second-most field goals (70) despite playing just the fifth-most minutes (127). He also launched four of their nine clutch looks.
His previous NBA mileage makes him better served for an instant-offense role than a prominent one, as he's coming off the three worst shooting campaigns of his career. But he can still dominate in spurts—two playoff outbursts of 25-plus points attest to that—and Miami has been more than happy to give him every chance to do that.
10. Brook Lopez
The market hasn't exploded for Brook Lopez in the way you'd think it might for a unicorn.
That's because his profile stops well short of what most associate with that label. But if you boil down the definition to a big man who shoots threes and blocks shots, the 30-year-old qualifies.
While many of his marks dipped to career-low levels during his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the three-ball he debuted the season prior remained in his arsenal. He averaged 1.5 makes per game and shot a good enough percentage (34.5) to function as a stretch 5.
At the opposite end, he held his blocks average north of one for the sixth consecutive campaign. He also became one of only six players to tally at least 200 triples and 200 rejections since the start of 2016-17.
With his points (13.0) and rebounds (4.0) either matching or setting new personal lows, he projects as a specialist now more than ever. But when his specialities feature two traits coveted in contemporary centers, he could have an easier time sniffing out decent money than some of his fellow free-agent bigs.
9. Montrezl Harrell (Restricted)
You're forgiven if you've miscast Montrezl Harrell as only a defensive-minded energizer.
The Clippers pegged him as such when they landed him in last summer's Chris Paul swap, only to be pleasantly surprised by the other elements of his game, as Doc Rivers told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times in March: "When we got him, we looked at him as an energy guy, a guy that can play defense. That's what he did everywhere he's been. And then every practice he gets in, he keeps scoring. And scoring. And then we started thinking, 'Maybe he can score a little bit.' He's been better than that. He's been great."
Harrell's activity will always be the first thing observers notice—his sweeping 7'4" wingspan should be a close second—but energy guys don't score like he did last season. His 11 points per game don't jump off the page until you realize he only averaged 17 minutes, at least 3.4 fewer than any other double-digit scorer. After the All-Star break, he squeezed 14.6 points (on 65.8 percent shooting) into just 20.1 minutes per contest.
His offensive range might not reach far beyond the restricted area, but he's a bulldozer around the basket. He was a 94th percentile finisher as a pick-and-roll screener, a figure with almost universal appeal in today's spread offenses.
While specific suitors have yet to surface, Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz reports there's "a host" of them.
8. Rodney Hood (Restricted)
This was hardly the most interesting "what if" question of 2017-18, but what would have happened to Rodney Hood's value if the Jazz never traded him?
At the time of the exchange, the 25-year-old swingman was averaging 16.8 points and drilling 2.6 triples per night at a 38.9 percent clip. He could manipulate defenders through shrewd pick-and-roll navigating, light the lamp from long distance and ignite at any time. He was only 39 games into his season, and he'd already authored 11 outbursts of 20 points or more.
One could debate whether his ceiling extended to stardom or topped out as a high-level role player, but his trajectory seemingly pointed straight up.
That should matter for his free agency. But it can't erase the fact he was traded and never found traction with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He lost both volume stats and efficiency and then lost his rotation spot altogether. He returned to tally a combined 25 points and 14 rebounds in Games 3 and 4 of the Finals, but his paycheck had likely taken a sizable hit by then.
He's still generating interest, per Schultz, but logic says the offers probably aren't near what we thought he'd collect. A source told Sporting News' Sean Deveney that Hood could sign his qualifying offer from the Cavaliers to try to restore his value for unrestricted free agency next summer, which might be a sneaky-good strategy if he inherits a lot of the offensive touches vacated by LeBron James.
7. Luc Mbah a Moute
For much of last season, Luc Mbah a Moute looked like a bargain find. But with Trevor Ariza taking the money and running from Houston, Mbah a Moute might now be a necessity. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle opined the Rockets "have to" keep Mbah a Moute.
He gave the Houston Rockets defensive versatility and the highest perimeter volume of his career (one triple per game, 36.4 percent success rate), all for the clearance price of the veteran's minimum. But two shoulder injuries derailed his season—the first requiring a monthlong absence, the second rendering him virtually unplayable (25 percent shooting, 2.6 player efficiency rating) in the playoffs.
It's possible recency bias creates a more muted market than he should otherwise receive.
His multipositional defense alone makes him valuable in today's Association, and his perimeter development extends his influence to both ends of the court. Houston fared 3.5 points better per 100 possessions when he stepped inside the lines.
The Wizards reportedly expressed interest in Mbah a Moute, per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, but it's unclear if that remains the case after they reportedly added Jeff Green, according to ESPN.com.
6. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is a free agent by title only. The Dallas Mavericks declined his $5 million team option to increase their buying power, maximized it by getting DeAndre Jordan's agreement to finally come and now could circle back to their longtime franchise face with the same money.
The Mavs are likely to use their remaining $5 million in cap space to re-sign Nowitzki, league sources told Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.
It'd be fun to see how teams value the 40-year-old former MVP.
He lost whatever athleticism he had, but Father Time has had trouble eroding the Diggler's skill set. The 13-time All-Star just set a personal best with 2.6 threes per 36 minutes, and his 40.9 percent conversion rate was his fourth-highest in 20 NBA seasons.
He was last a playoff participant in 2016, but Dallas has tried getting him back to the big dance at least once before he walks away. The Mavs were a 58-loss squad last season, but they could be poised to spring forward after adding Jordan, Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson already.
5. Wayne Ellington
This market has treated almost every sharpshooter favorably. Wayne Ellington appeared in the perfect position to take advantage of that when 23 teams expressed interest early in the process, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
But there aren't as many openings—and not nearly as much money—as when the market opened. Ellington isn't searching for scraps yet, but any window he had to join a contender and cash in could be closed.
That might not be the worst thing to happen, since he has maintained his preference is to stick with the Heat. That's assuming, of course, Miami either moves some money off its books or launches into the luxury tax—for a non-contending roster—to keep him around.
This is a surprising turn of events, given that Ellington specializes in the one thing the entire Association is buying.
He's an elite shooter. He was one of only 14 players to launch at least seven triples per game in 2017-18. In that group, he was also one of five to clear 39-plus percent from three: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Paul George and Kyle Lowry.
That's why, despite being average at best defensively and limited off the bounce, he was invaluable for Miami. Among its rotation players, only Kelly Olynyk had a wider on/off split (plus-2.5 with Ellington, minus-1.6 without).
4. Jabari Parker (Restricted)
It's easy to interpret Jabari Parker's stat sheet as evidence the former No. 2 pick should be a no-doubt keeper for the Milwaukee Bucks. He's 23 years old, a 49.0 percent career shooter and a contributor of 20.6 points per 36 minutes over the past two seasons.
But he's also missed 145 of a possible 328 games over his first four seasons, twice tearing the ACL in his left knee. He also doesn't do much damage from distance (career 1.7 attempts per game) and isn't the easiest fit on defense. Oh, and almost every club who carried money into this summer has already spent it.
That might explain why we aren't hearing much about his free agency, save for the Kings reportedly calling off their pursuit, per Schultz. His list of possible landing spots is dwindling at a rapid rate; still, one would think some team wants a shot at Parker's offensive firepower and potential.
"There's going to be interest in Parker, no doubt," a Western Conference coach told Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. "Everybody knows he can play."
Putting a price tag on Parker won't be easy, and the fact he's restricted doesn't help. But there are enough questions about his health and his defense to wonder if Milwaukee might opt against matching whatever offer sheet he signs.
3. Isaiah Thomas
The Orlando Magic doubled their point guard count by signing Isaiah Briscoe for depth behind D.J. Augustin, per Wojnarowski. From this perspective, they're still missing both a starting floor general and a No. 1 scoring option.
A healthy Isaiah Thomas—which, admittedly, we haven't seen in over a year—potentially scratches both itches. That's far from guaranteed, but the potential is high enough that RealGM's Keith Smith reported hearing of "some level of mutual interest."
This could be the best-case scenario for both sides. Orlando has a big vacancy to fill, and Thomas needs to find an opportunity big enough to help him restore the value he lost last season.
Two seasons ago, he compiled max-contract credentials, finishing third in scoring and fifth in MVP voting. His stock has been tailspinning ever since, plagued by a hip injury that ravaged his stats before prematurely ending his 2017-18 campaign by necessitating surgical attention.
So, which version is someone about to sign?
Can Thomas get anywhere close to his 2016-17 levels, when he not only averaged 28.9 points but also did so with an ultraefficient 46.3/37.9/90.9 shooting slash? Or is he the damaged-goods version we saw last season—an undersized scorer who didn't wow with volume (15.2 points per game) or efficiency (37.3/29.3/89.3)?
2. Marcus Smart (Restricted)
Marcus Smart might be getting impatient. Being without a deal isn't entirely the issue; he reportedly hasn't heard from the Boston brass since the market opened.
"He loves the Celtics, but with these crickets he's hearing, he's hurt and disgusted by it," a source said, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. "... There's been no talk since free agency opened. He's most disappointed that there has been no reaching out from their end."
The Celtics might not be incentivized to do so. They could want the market to determine his worth, which isn't easily calculated since he's a non-shooter who plays shooting guard in an era defined by shooting. But if you can set aside his 36.0/29.3/75.6 career slash, he intrigues from almost every other angle.
Need a hustler? Smart was top 20 in deflections (2.9 per game, tied for 17th) and charges drawn (0.24, tied for ninth). Need a stopper? He not only defends multiple positions but also shaved 3.8 points off his matchup's field-goal percentage, had the seventh-best defensive real plus-minus at point guard (1.61, per ESPN.com) and improved Boston's league-best defense by 3.6 points per 100 possessions.
Smart can also create, rebound, get to the free-throw line and play any perimeter position. His lack of shooting is a concern, but it's not one nearly grave enough to outweigh his numerous contributions.
1. Clint Capela (Restricted)
Clint Capela's camp has scoured the market for an offer sheet, with his agent contacting 10-plus teams after meeting with the Rockets, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst (via SportsTalk 790's Ben DuBose). But external clubs might see little incentive to bid, with USA Today's Sam Amick reporting Houston is "obviously all-in" on Capela and "plans to match any offer."
That should surprise no one. In November, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Capela had "near-elite two-way" potential but that the club needed "one more step, at least" from its center, per ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon.
Capela launched himself all the way to a second-place finish in the Most Improved Player Award voting. By season's end, his stat sheet was predictably loaded with career marks, including 13.9 points per game on a league-leading 65.2 percent shooting, 10.8 rebounds per game, 1.9 blocks per game and a 24.5 player efficiency rating.
He's close to the ideal non-shooting big for today's game.
His sweeping 7'5" wingspan pays off in rim protection, helping him slice 5.1 percentage points from his opponents' shooting rates within six feet. His explosive athleticism makes him a punishing lob finisher (91st percentile pick-and-roll screener) and relentless rebounder (sixth in rebounding percentage). His lateral mobility allows him to survive most perimeter switches.
He does everything a low-usage center should, and he only recently turned 24. Morey might have the height of Capela's ceiling pegged perfectly.
Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @ZachBuckleyNBA.